Scary stories from a lovely place
She said to the doctor “do the operation today. My baby is dying”. These were the words of my friend Brigitte’s mum twenty two years ago on the day of her birth. Brigitte was born in a hospital in Kigali, Rwanda, healthy and alive which was a miracle considering the circumstances of her mum’s pregnancy. There were complications, lots of them and in the end Brigitte’s mum had to lie on her back with her legs elevated for five months. They delayed Brigitte’s delivery as long as possible to give her the best chance. But yesterday, twenty two years ago, Brigitte’s mum knew they had waited long enough.
I’m glad she made it out alive because I have had the chance to be friends with a very lovely girl. Brigitte has lived in Joburg for about 18 months trying out different potential life paths. Things haven’t gone as she planned so she is heading back to Rwanda soon. I will miss her. Yesterday we had breakfast together to celebrate Brigitte’s birthday. I was reminded again that time with Brig is never superficial or boring. “Tell me my qualities and flaws!” she demanded. I mumbled out something, trying to give far more qualities than flaws (it wasn’t hard). Then it was my turn. Brigitte reported that I ” freak out too much” and am ” independent which is a good thing, but you’re not very good at asking for help”. Yes and yes. Brigitte’s wisdom is unique. It’s true and cuttingly insightful for someone who is only 22. Even though her time in Joburg hasn’t turned out as she hoped she isn’t disappointed. “I’m very glad I came here. Life is always interesting. God has shown me many things. It has been great”.
She is going home to a good place. Rwanda sounds spectacularly beautiful – all green and rolling hills. But it’s a hard place. There’s an election coming up at the beginning of August. Relationships and the political climate are tense there right now. I remember a story Brigitte told me about being reunited with her mum after not seeing her for a long time and fearing that she was dead. She was walking down a hill and her mum was running towards her, arms outstretched, once more seeing her daughter whom she fought so hard to bring safely into the world. Yesterday during breakfast Brig received an sms from her mum wishing her a happy birthday. Brigitte’s mum also said that God loves her more than she does. Enshrouded by the fierce love of a determinedly caring mum and a powerful God who loves more than weak human parents – Brigitte will be fine.